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The Population Bridge

Each year, approximately 800,000 people pay the fee to walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver, British Columbia. As they walk across the bridge, travelers feel every sway and bounce of the bridge, creating feelings of both awe and risk.

Installed in 1956, the current bridge is advertised as being structurally safe due to the achoring of its heavy cables in 13 tons of concrete at each end. Yet, the span of the bridge is 450 feet long, towering 230 feet above the canyon formed by the Capilano River.

Is it structurally safe? Engineering reports suggest that the bridge can support simultaneously the weight of fifty 747s! That is, the reports claim the bridge can support as many people as can crowd onto the bridge at one time.

Question: Using the picture of the bridge as a guide and the given data, estimate how many adults could stand on the bridge at one time. Assume that they are standing in a crowded but orderly fashion. Is this number equal to the population of nearby Burnaby? the entire Vancouver area? The population of British Columbia? etc.

Source: Interesting Thing of the Day, August 25, 2010